Dear Wonderful Widows,
Last night was the first evening of this month's ‘Widows Dating Again Class’. It was fun and I know we all learned a lot.
What struck me after the class was how truly vulnerable widows are. I don’t mean that we are vulnerable to unscrupulous men.
We are vulnerable to our own need to connect, to touch, to be touched, and to our desire to rid ourselves of the devastating loneliness of loss.
If we expected our husband to die or if he died suddenly, the loneliness of loss is always sudden. There is no way to prepare for being alone and no way to anticipate and prepare for the unremitting loneliness that follows. It is this loneliness that makes widowhood so long and so arduous. And it is this loneliness that has us make mistakes.
Eight years ago, this loneliness hit me like it hits all widows, like a tsunami. It was an emotional, physical and spiritual loneliness.
Emotionally, I craved connection with someone who could hear me; I craved understanding and I craved loving someone and being loved.
Spiritually, I temporarily lost my sense of connection with God, making day-to-day life even more rigorous. No matter what I tried, I could not MAKE that connection happen. I was lonely for God.
Physically I craved skin-to-skin contact. Touch. The touch of a man. Sex! I yearned for the connection that happened when Mike and I made love, and I (ridiculously) thought that I could have it with someone I did not love.
Can I admit here that I made mistakes without going into detail? I hope so. Let me just say that in my drive to rid myself of loneliness, I met a wonderful man who was just not for me.
Many of you will make similar mistakes. A great deal of the discussion last night was about safety. It was about emotional safety as well as physical and spiritual safety. (Spiritual safety I define as making decisions in your life that will not mess with your own connection with your Higher Power.)
Widowhood is the time to include others in your decisions, especially decisions around relationships. Include girlfriends in your life. Tell all to those women who will not judge, but rather will give their honest and compassionate opinion when asked. Ask for help.
We need our friends who are our allies to know what we are up to so that we don’t make mistakes that are too big. I appreciate the people in my life who, when I ask them, tell me exactly what they think, even if I might not like it. I need these people, even if sometimes I get mad at them. You need them too.